While I was happy with “Better Way To Live” as a pretty solid pop/rock song built around one of the hookier choruses I had at the time, it wasn’t necessarily a song that I was particularly passionate about including on the new record. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, but I think maybe it felt to me like a song that I would have expected from my previous record, and I wanted to go to new places. It also didn’t hit me as an especially singer/songwriter kind of lyric. But everyone else involved in the project was really excited about the song and it seemed like it could be a potential single, so it made the cut. It’s the kind of song I rarely do well: a punchy pop/rock song with few words and a big old hooky chorus. I wrote it with my friend Chad Cates and have been blessed to find that my lack of enthusiasm was misplaced as I’ve gotten numerous emails back from people who are fans of this song in particular. I love being wrong in cases like this.
It turned out to be one of the songs that the players were most excited about and even Jason Ingram, the producer, told me afterward that this song was his favorite drum performance. I think for the players the song provided the best opportunity for a groove to happen and their enthusiasm and investment in it elevated the merit of the song in my mind, making me grateful for it’s inclusion. I loved Gabe Scott’s dulcimer and lap steel flourishes, too. Paul Mabury, an amazing drummer from Australia, set up his flip camera to record his performance while we were tracking and sent it to me. Hearing/seeing this song from the perspective of the drum room gives me a different perception of the song. Watching Paul play this brings back good memories, I remember how wore out he was after this track – he laid into it, giving every hit everything he had in order to get the tone he wanted. Here’s his video, I hope you enjoy it!
Better Way To Live Jason Gray and Chad Cates
How long have you been dreaming Of a life bigger than the one you lead Your hurt has left you guarded But hope is tugging at your sleeve You were meant for something more
All I know is there’s a better way to live We were made for so much more than this It’s not the love you have but the love you have to give All I know is there’s a better way A better way to live
All my life looking in the mirror Praying for the will and wings to fly But when I saw the world out my window With a broken heart I came alive Cause I was made for something more
When we step aside From the center of our lives When we learn to love mercy More than being right Pursuing peace and honesty Starting down the road of selflessness And seeing where it leads